The Home of the Last Tsar - Romanov and Russian History

Murder of the Imperial Family - Documents Related to the Abdication and Arrest of the Romanovs

From the Red Archives

ABDICATION OF NICHOLAS II Deputy Karaulov appeared in the Duma and announced that the Tsar, Nicholas II, had abdicated the throne in favor of Michael Alexandrovich. Michael Alexandrovich in his turn abdicated the throne in favor of the people.

At the Duma there were large meetings and ovations. The enthusiasm was beyond description.

"Izvestiia," Extra Supplement to No. 4, March 16, 1917.



In the midst of the great struggle against a foreign foe, who has been striving for three years to enslave our country, it has pleased God to lay on Russia a new and painful trial. Newly arisen popular disturbances in the interior imperil the successful continuation of the stubborn fight. The fate of Russia, the honor of our heroic army, the welfare of our people, the entire future of our dear land, call for the prosecution of the conflict, regardless of the sacrifices, to a triumphant end. The cruel foe is making his last effort and the hour is near when our brave army, together with our glorious Allies, will crush him.

In these decisive days in the life of Russia, we deem it our duty to do what we can to help our people to draw together and unite all their forces for the speedier attainment of victory. For this reason we, in agreement with the State Duma, think it best to abdicate the throne of the Russian State and to lay down the Supreme Power. Not wishing to be separated from our beloved son, we hand down our inheritance to our brother, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, and give him our blessing on mounting the throne of the Russian Empire.

We enjoin our brother to govern in union and harmony with the representatives of the people on such principles as they shall see fit to establish. He should bind himself to do so by an oath in the name of our beloved country.

We call on all faithful sons of the Fatherland to fulfil their sacred obligations to their country by obeying the Tsar at this hour of national distress, and to help him and the representatives of the people to take Russia out of the position in which she finds herself, and to lead her into the path of victory, well-being, and glory.

May the Lord God help Russia!

March 15, 1917, 3 P.M, City of Pskov.


Countersigned by the Minister of the Imperial Court, Adjutant-General, COUNT FREDERICKS.

"Izvestiia of the Committee of Petrograd journalists," No. 8, March 16, 1917

ABDICATION OF GRAND DUKE MICHAEL ALEXANDROVICH A heavy burden has been laid on me by my brother who has passed over to me the imperial throne of Russia at a time of unprecedented war and popular disturbances.

Animated by the thought which is in the minds of all, that the good of the State is above other considerations, I have decided to accept the supreme power, only if that be the desire of our great people, expressed at a general election for their representatives to the Constituent Assembly, which should determine the form of government and lay down the fundamental laws of the Russian Empire.

With a prayer to God for His blessings, I beseech all citizens of the Empire to subject themselves to the Provisional Government, which is created by and invested with full power by the State Duma, until the summoning, at the earliest possible moment, of a Constituent Assembly, selected by universal, direct, equal, and secret ballot, which shall establish a government in accordance with the will of the people.

March 16, 1917


"Izvestiia of the Committee of Petrograd journalists," No. 9, March 17, 1917.



[Minutes of the Petrograd Soviet, March 16, 1917]


1. That the Workers' Deputies be informed that the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies has resolved to arrest the dynasty of the Romanovs, and to propose to the Provisional Government that it make the arrest, together with the Soviet of Workers' Deputies. In case of a refusal, to inquire what the attitude of the Provisional Government will be if the Executive Committee itself makes the arrest. The reply of the Provisional Government to be discussed at a later meeting of the Executive Committee.

2. As regards Michael, to make an actual arrest, but formally to declare him to be subjected only to the actual surveillance of the revolutionary army.

3. As regards Nicholas Nicholaevich, in view of the danger of arresting him in the Caucasus, first to summon him to Petrograd, and to establish strict surveillance over him on the way.

4. The arrest of the women of the house of Romanov to be made gradually, depending upon the part played by each one in the activities of the old regime.

The question of how to make the arrests, as well as the organization of the arrests, is to be turned over to the military commission of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies for further elaboration. Chkheidze and Skohelev are instructed to communicate to the Government the resolution of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies."


THE ARREST OF NICHOLAS ROMANOV In view of information received, that the Provisional Government has decided to permit Nicholas Romanov to depart for England, and that he is at present on his way to Petrograd, the Executive Committee has resolved to take extraordinary steps, immediately, for his detention and arrest. An order has been issued that our troops shall occupy all railway stations, and commissars with extraordinary powers have been despatched to the stations of Tsarskoe Selo, Tosno, and Zvanka.

It has been further decided to broadcast wireless messages to all cities, with instructions to arrest Nicholas Romanov and take extraordinary measures in general.

At the same time, it has been decided to inform the Provisional Government at once that it is the determination of the Executive Committee not to permit the departure of Nicholas Romanov for England, and to arrest him. It has been decided to confine Nicholas Romanov in the Trubestkoi Bastion of the Peter and Paul Fortress, changing its commanding personnel for this purpose. The arrest of Nicholas Romanov is to be made at all costs, even at the risk of a severance of relations with the Provisional Government.

"Protokoly", 29


Please send your comments on this page and the Time Machine to

Palace Archives

WMF Report
Diaries and Letters
Murder of the Imperial Family
Travel Guides
Romanov Archives

Pallasart Web Design Austin Blog Blog - Find the latest industry news, tips and tricks at Pallasart Web Design

What is Responsive Web Design?

Learn tips and techniques for implementing responsive websites - responsive means that your website has been programmed to aut0-fit on all devices.

Jewels of the Romanovs
I Visit the Soviets by E. M. Delafield
Alexander Palace Book Finder